Prep Baseball Report

2015 Season Preview: PIAA District I (Class A, AA & AAA)

By Jacob Gill
Philadelphia Region Director of Scouting

We continue to work our way down the eastern side of the state to polish off the second trimester of our district preview articles, the main component of our season preview content, which is running for three weeks up to the first official competition date for PIAA schools on March 20. Each article includes a list of top prospects from amongst the cohort of schools, as well as write-ups of a number of teams in the cohort.

We have received inquiries regarding how we decide which teams to detail. A team having or not having its own paragraph in the article is less an indication of what type of season we expect it to have and more a function of how much information we are able to compile. For example, if we have not seen a team in person (there are over 600 baseball-playing high schools in the state), stats are not available on-line, and a school district spam filter gobbled up our e-mails to the coach that contained the questionnaire, we might not have enough information to write a full paragraph on that school.

To view all district previews as they are released, please visit our District Previews 2015 page.

Tim BrennanPIAA District I Class A/AA/AAA Top Prospects

1. Nolan Jones, 2016, RHP/IF, Holy Ghost Prep (Virginia)
2. Nick O'Day, 2018, RHP/IF, Bishop Shanahan
3. Tim Brennan, 2015, RHP, Holy Ghost Prep (St. Joseph's)
4. C.J. Pruitt, 2015, RHP, Sun Valley (La Salle)
5. Mike Anthony, 2015, RHP, Phoenixville Area (La Salle)
6. Dominic Hardaway, 2015, C, Devon Prep (Boston College)
7. Sean Phelan, 2015, 1B/LHP, Devon Prep (Penn)
Connor Wilson8. Ryan Malloy, 2015, OF, Holy Ghost Prep (Lehigh)
9. Connor Wilson, 2016, OF, Radnor
10. Spencer Tinkel, 2015, RHP, New Hope-Solebury (Holy Cross)
11. Curtis Staropoli, 2015, RHP, Holy Ghost Prep
12. Luke Duris, 2015, RHP, Holy Ghost Prep (Villanova)
13. Nick Payesko, 2015, LHP/OF, Holy Ghost Prep (Rider)
14. Billy Hitman, 2016, C/IF, Pope John Paul II
15. Daniel Sabath, 2017, RHP, Christopher Dock Mennonite

C.J. PruittMike AnthonyRyan MalloySpencer TinkelBilly Hitman

Class A

Following the graduation of five all-BAL Presidents position players, Calvary Christian will turn to senior 1st-team outfielder Sam Heath (.449 AVG, .542 OBP, 13 XBH) to power an offense that should see greater roles for senior Joseph Roche (.333 AVG) and junior Ben Brophy (.469 AVG, 13 SB), both of whom performed well in limited opportunities last spring. Roche (27.1 IP, 39 H, 13 BB, 21 K) also appears to be the de facto ace of an otherwise inexperienced Cougars pitching staff.

Tim DiLoretoChristopher Dock Mennonite returns a wealth of experience, including two all-BAL Presidents RHPs in senior 1st-team selection Evan Trauger and 2nd-team honoree Sabath. Coach Ed Melendez has a number of familiar names to write into his line-up as well, including junior Honorable Mention catcher Tim DiLoreto (right), senior 2nd-team second baseman Jimmy Kustra, senior 2nd-team third baseman Seth Frankenfield, junior 2nd-team outfielder Tyler Alderfer, and junior Honorable Mention outfielder Jack Glancey.

Likewise, CFS - The School at Church Farm welcomes back four of its own all-BAL Presidents selections: senior 1st-team pitcher Orion Ramroop, junior 1st-team second baseman Tim Lopez, junior 1st-team outfielder Steve Zarycranski, and senior Honorable Mention outfielder Ahmad Thomas.

With its top four hitters among six departed regulars, Delaware County Christian will sport a young line-up, including junior infielder Josh Van Meerbeke, junior 1st-team all-BAL Constitution catcher Kyle Winters, sophomore infielder Danny Browne and junior outfielder Jack Grim.  Browne, a 1st-team honoree at pitcher, and senior 2nd-team selection Brian Goebel will be rejoined in coach Jeff Wisnewski's rotation by Van Meerbeke, who missed most of last season with a broken thumb.

Two-thirds of the starting line-up returns for Jenkintown, including senior all-BAL Constitution 2nd-team catcher Aidan Lorenz (.265 AVG), junior 2nd-team second baseman Christian Geer (.314 AVG, .439 OBP), sophomore 2nd-team third baseman John Contoudis (.522 AVG, .603 OBP, 11 BB vs 7 K), junior 2nd-team outfielder Evan Misinkavitch (.359 AVG, .509 OBP, 12 BB vs 5 K), and junior 1st-team designated hitter Justin Nusbaum (.304 AVG, .443 OBP, 12 BB vs 9 K). With the Drakes top two pitchers departed via graduation, a number of underclassmen could be called on to step up their production, including sophomores Jameson Kolb (20 IP, 11 H, 10 BB, 13 K) and Contoudis (16.1 IP, 9 H, 14 BB, 24 K).

Class AA

Following a class A championship in 2014, Devon Prep will now make a run at a AA title. Two-thirds of the Tide starting line-up returns, headlined by the slugging duo of 1st-team all-BAL Independence selection Hardaway (.435 AVG, 14 XBH) and 2nd-team honoree Phelan (.343 AVG, 11 XBH). Junior 2nd-team second baseman Tony Gallo (.403 AVG) and Honorable Mention third baseman Eric DiPietro (.312 AVG), a Drew commit, also return off strong seasons. Coach Mark Aquilante's pitching staff is in good shape as well, led by senior 1st-teamer Pat Rohr (64 IP, 38 H, 21 BB, 64 K), especially if junior LHP John McSurdy (26 IP, 20 H, 31 BB, 22 K) and Phelan (9.2 IP, 9 H, 10 BB, 9 K) can harness their command.

Anthony VlahovicAn experienced group returns for New Hope-Solebury, with senior all-BAL Independence Honorable Mention selections Spencer Tinkel and Anthony Vlahovic (right) the right-left combo leading a pitching staff that will also have junior LHP Brandon Smith log innings. Joining those three in coach Tony Vlahovic's veteran line-up will be junior infielders Nate Wilson and Keegan Hildebrandt, senior outfielder Keegan Hawkins, sophomore catcher/DH Danny Doherty and senior catcher Matt Mazza.

Senior RHP Julian Salzer (47.2 IP, 31 H, 16 BB, 33 K), a 3rd-team all-SOL American selection, returns to front a Springfield Township pitching staff that will otherwise be looking to get quality innings from relatively inexperienced arms. On a streak of reaching the state tournament three out of the past four seasons, four seniors are back to power the Spartans offense, led by 3rd-team second baseman Chris Binet (.368 AVG, 11 XBH) and Honorable Mention outfielder Mike Johnston (.360 AVG).

1st-year Bristol coach Lou Persichetti III takes over the reins of a team that returns the bulk of its pitching staff. Senior Stephen Boggi (21.2 IP, 15 H, 10 BB, 17 K) and sophomore Tyler Dyszel (16.2 IP, 21 H, 11 BB, 14 K) will team with junior all-BAL Independence 2nd-team honoree Danny Padilla (30.2 IP, 29 H, 20 BB, 22 K) at the top of the pecking order for innings. On the other hand, the Warriors offense graduated three of its top four hitters, with outfielder Padilla (.383 AVG, .486 OBP, 12 BB vs 4 K) the only returner to hit above .280 last year and senior 2nd-team DH Mike Heller (.279 AVG, .411 OBP) the only other above .250.

Class AAA

Curtis StaropoliHaving lost their final game to the eventual state champ in back-to-back seasons, Holy Ghost Prep is primed to get over the hump this year on the strength of fifteen returning players, including five who have committed to Division I programs. Coach Keith Smeraglio's biggest challenge this season might just be finding enough innings to keep all of his pitchers sharp, as he will have BAL Independence MVP Brennan, 2nd-team selection Duris, plus Jones, Staropoli (right), and Payesko at his disposal. 1st-team honoree Malloy anchors a veteran offense with left-right balance that also includes Jones, Brennan, Payesko, and Duris.

Bishop Shanahan graduated eleven seniors, leaving behind senior all-Ches-Mont National 1st-team infielder Riley O'Day, Honorable Mention RHP Frank Chubb, a Gwynedd Mercy commit who has one of the better breaking balls in the area, and toolsy Kutztown-bound 1st-team outfielder Jeff Zebrowski to carry the torch for the Eagles.

Kyle MillerWith the senior-dominated roster (and head coach) that authored one of the great one-year turnarounds in state history gone, Pope John Paul II will roll out an inexperienced squad this spring. Attempting to replace a dominant three-headed monster on the pitching staff will be senior LHP Kevin Shields, junior RHPs Rich McGarry and Jimmy Gallo, and senior RHP Cam Nowakowski. First-year coach Matt Eckman will turn to Hitman (.348 AVG), senior outfielder Kyle Miller (right), and senior infielder Luke DeLeo, the Panthers only returning starters, to lead an offense that should also get contributions from senior 1B/C P.J. Heller and sophomore outfielder Christian Wagner.

Cody HerestofaSun Valley returns two-thirds of its line-up, including 1st-team all-Ches-Mont American utility Pruitt, and senior Honorable Mention selections Ryan Burton and Cody Herestofa (right). They will be joined in first-year coach Neil Herman's line-up by senior third baseman Tyler Hastings and sophomore infielder Christian Bateman. Possessing a nice combo of stuff and projection, staff ace Pruitt (38.2 IP, 36 H, 27 BB, 42 K) could be one of the most dominant pitchers in the area if he takes another step forward with his command this spring.

Colton HookerUpper Moreland will turn over a large chunk of its roster, needing to replace six graduates who earned all-SOL American honors, including the three pitchers who dominated its innings the last couple of seasons. Senior 1B/OF Colton Hooker (left) and junior 2nd-team infielder Connor Casey are the only holdovers from the Golden Bears line-up in last year's district quarterfinal loss to Pope John Paul II.

Ryan JanvierChichester lost seven contributors to graduation and will be looking to integrate a young group in defense of its Delaware Valley Conference title. Senior RHP/Util Eric Baiocco and junior SS/RHP Bobby Jones will contribute in all phases of the game for the Eagles. Junior RHP Ryan Janvier (right) and senior catcher Josh Speakman will also have large roles for coach Joe Thomas.

Junior Honorable Mention all-BAL Independence third baseman Dicky Rhoads and senior shortstop Dominic Cataline return to lead a Lower Moreland offense that will be breaking in six new starters. Coach Dennis Murphy will turn to junior RHP Joe Benvenuto (21.2 IP, 20 K) to front a pitching staff with questions to answer about its depth.

Season Preview Schedule

2/27 - PAISAA
2/27 - District V
2/28 - District IX
3/1 - District VI
3/2 - District IV
3/3 - District X
3/4 - District III (Class A & AA)
3/5 - District VII (Class A)
3/6 - District VII (Class AA)
3/7 - District II
3/8 - District XI
3/9 - District I (Class A, AA, AAA)
3/10 - District III (Class AAA)
3/11 - District VII (Class AAA)
3/12 - District I (Class AAAA)
3/13 - District III (Class AAAA)
3/14 - District VII (Class AAAA)
3/15 - District XII